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Bentley targets rare-earth magnet recycling for sustainable e-motors

Bentley targets rare-earth magnet recycling for sustainable e-motors

MANILA: Bentley Motors made an announcement last February 18, regarding a three-year research study that is targeted at revolutionizing the sustainability of electric motors.

In support of Bentley’s pledge to sell only electric or hybrid vehicles by 2026, the result of the study is expected to provide a sustainable source of rare earth magnets for non-traction motor applications.

The study, entitled RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines), aims to build on work that was completed at the University of Birmingham to establish a system for the extraction of magnets from waste electronics.


In addition, the method will be ramped up and the collected magnetic material will be repurposed into new recyclable magnets for utilization in custom-made ancillary motors. 

In addition to the sustainability advantages that RaRE can offer, the handcrafted engines produced through this procedure target to reduce complexity in production while bolstering the growth of the UK supply chain for both low-volume components and mass production. 

Bentley Motors Member of the Board for Engineering Dr. Matthias Rabe explained the research ambitions of Bentley, “As we accelerate our journey to electrification, offering only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2026, and full electric by 2030, it is important that we focus on every aspect of vehicle sustainability, including sustainable methods of sourcing materials and components. RaRE promises a step-change in electrical recyclability, providing a source of truly bespoke, low-voltage motors for a number of different applications and we are confident the results will provide a basis for fully sustainable electric drives.”

This study coincides with the OCTOPUS (Optimized Components, Test and Simulation, tool kits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions) research program of Bentley, which targets to bring about a breakthrough in e-axle electric powertrains, using a fully incorporated, rare-earth magnet free e-axle that reinforces the designs of electric vehicles.  

Similar with OCTOPUS, RaRE is an Office for Zero Emissions (OZEV)-funded initiative established in collaboration with Innovate UK, which unifies the partners below with unique responsibilities and tasks:

  • Hypromag: It will ramp up the recycling procedures that were developed at the University of Birmingham and transform the powders that were removed into sintered magnets with aspects designed around those needed for auxiliary motors. 
  • University of Birmingham (UoB): UoB will offer cast alloys, which will be brought into Hypromag to combine with secondary materials to generate sintered magnets.
  • Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions Ltd: This company will pre-process computer hard disk drives to extract rare earth magnet components from waste materials that will be delivered to Hypromag for the elimination of rare earth magnets.
  • Advanced Electric Machines Research Ltd: This company will spearhead motor design and engineering.
  • Unipart Powertrain Applications Ltd: This company will facilitate the development of production scale-up routes to guarantee that the procedures and facilities identified are appropriate for volume automotive production.
  • Bentley Motors: The auto company will head specification setting and assess the development of protocols as well as reinforce production and design operations.  

Hypromag Nick Mann Operations General Manager added, “RaRE is an exciting project and a fantastic opportunity to prove the importance and potential of short loop recycled magnetic material. HyProMag’s recycling technologies allow us to produce NdFeB magnets with a much lower embedded carbon cost than using virgin supply and with independence from Chinese supply and we are working closely with our major shareholder Mkango Resources to further grow the business. We are proud to be working with established, innovative and renowned companies in the RaRE project with whom we can showcase the technologies of the RaRE project as a whole – recycled magnets being used for cutting edge products in a prestige application.”

OZEV R and D Manager Jon Bray said, “We are excited to be supporting this innovative project as part of our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the design, manufacture and use of zero emission vehicles.”

Photo from Bentley Motors

Also read: Bentley, OCTOPUS reach out to an e-powertrain future